#smallchickbigdeals Recipe: Quick & Easy Hello Dolly Pie

 Who doesn’t love pie?!

I know I can’t deny an ooey, gooey piece of pie especially if there is chocolate in it! This is the perfect pie to bring to any Fourth of July BBQ or party you’ll be attending!

So a few weeks ago after being inspired by Apron Anxiety and determined to cook again one of my co-workers told me about this super easy pie to make. It’s called Hello Dolly Pie. I was able to make two for about $20 in ingredients which isn’t too bad. It was a hit when I brought it to work and when my family had it!

Hello Dolly Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 premade or homemade graham cracker crust
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1 cup of flaked coconut
  • 1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350* 
  2. Make or unwrap graham cracker crust.
  3. Insert 1 cup of each dry ingredient (in order as listed above)
  4. Top with can of sweetened condensed milk
  5. Let it bake in the oven for 20 minutes
  6. Let it cool for a few hours, when it’s totally cool, cut and enjoy!!!

It’s delicious and you can be creative with what you put in it. I know I want to put in peanut butter and chocolate chips next time I make it!

So next time you’re bored and want to bake, try it and let me know if you like it!!!

Happy Eating & don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth :D

…’til next time!

#SCBD Exclusive Interview: Apron Anxiety Author Alyssa Shelasky

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Apron Anxiety by Alyssa Shelasky

Apron Anxiety is a memoir by New York Magazine’s Grub Street writer, Alyssa Shelasky. Throughout the memoir we learn about Alyssa’s home life as a child, adventures as a teen, her journeys as an adult, and a relationship with Chef that turns her life around. We see how Alyssa overcomes trials and tribulations and some of life’s hardest decisions. It’s an Amazon best seller and has been big buzz in the food world since it premiered in bookstores in late May 2012.I was fortunate to get an exclusive interview with her where we discussed: food, writing, careers, dating, and success!

SCBD: Alyssa I’m honored that I am able to interview you today. Thank you again for being so open to me interviewing you. You are truly an inspiration to a fellow writer like me. For any of the readers who haven’t read the book, when did you know you wanted to write as a career?
AS: I’m lucky because I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and knowing that has guided me from a very young age. The majority of people really stress out over ‘what to be” when they grow up, and that’s a legitimately tough issue, so I caught a break there. One less point of confusion in my life! Maybe I would have made a great private detective/FBI agent too. SO random, but it’s just the only other job I’ve ever even considered for like 2 seconds. No clue why?!


SCBD: I love the fact that you are down to Earth and honest throughout the entire novel. Many people have a certain idea or stereotype of food writers being experts out of the womb, but like anything it takes time to really know your craft. Do you agree?
AS: Oh totally! I am not a natural born food writer, it’s just the journalistic “hemisphere” where I wound up recently  – and I’m trying to do a good job with it. I try to relate food to things I feel very comfortable with -  like relationships, sex, sense of self. Even comparing food to TV, or wine to music…that makes it more fun for me. Otherwise, honestly, it’s just food. And it’s kind of boring. Actually, the food “scenes” in my book were harder than anything else for me to write…like, I could much easier express the saddest break up of my life, than the smell of slow-roasted tomatoes.

SCBD: In the book you mention doing some public relations work as well, I am currently working for a firm and took courses while I was in college. Do you think it’s good for a food writer/blogger to know it works and have those skills?
AS: It’s daunting figuring out where you belong creatively, especially in NYC where there are infinite opportunities. So it’s great to try out all sorts of jobs, that’s the only way you’ll know what’s right. PR seemed like a glamorous media-type gig, where I hoped there would be writing, but I honestly had no clue what the difference between PR, advertising, and editorial work was back then.  What happened was, I kept pitching stories to these writers and reporters, and I was pitching them amazing stories because I was pretending to be on their end, fantasizing about how and what I would want to be pitched. Ultimately, I connected with the writers and reporters in a strong way because of that, so I was actually really good at PR. But the envy just kept growing. I wanted to be on the editorial end so bad, that was my calling and I knew it. But yes, VERY happy I worked in PR. I made incredible friends (all my best friends are in PR still – it’s crazy!). And knowledge is power.

SCBD: Like you, I’m still learning in the kitchen, in the book there are tons of recipes, what recipe do you recommend I try making first? Why?
AS: The chicken for “hungry and important” people is turning out to be one of the star recipes in the book. Delicious, healthy, easy. Or the Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip cookies. Or the banana bread. Impossible to mess any of those up!

SCBD: What’s your personal secret to success? What do you think attributed to your success?

AS: Courage is Grace Under Pressure — it’s Hemingway, but someone I love and admire very much always said that, and I try to live by it.  Because here’s the thing: life is hard. And life can be cruel. But I’ve always kept moving forward. Always held my head up high. And I think that mentality has kept me from getting stuck in bad situations, or buried in self-doubt. I’ve had just as many hardships and disappointments as anyone else, but I’ve always been resilient. I bounce back. The only tricky thing with that kind of inner-strength, as a writer or an artist, is preserving a certain inner-spirit too.  Because you need both. You need to be tough, without being hardened. You need a thick skin but a beating heart.

SCBD: Working for New York Magazine is a big deal and writing for Grubstreet is a big deal in the food world, when you started your career did you ever think you’d end up there? Why?
AS: Writing for New York Magazine was definitely a dream. Grub Street was a big decision for me…I had a book coming out that demanded a ton of time and energy, and a personal life to rebuild after a bad breakup…However, I’m a major “When opportunity knocks” person. And I just knew that was an opportunity I had to grab hold of. Job offers like that don’t come around often. Even if I was scared (I was). Even if I felt completely out of my comfort zone (big time). I had to take it; there was nothing to discuss. 

Alyssa Shelasky, writer for New York Magazine’s Grub Street and author of Apron Anxiety

SCBD: I love going out to eat, which is why I started my blog and every so often I cook. Before Apron Anxiety was a book, it started as a blog. What is your advice for young blogger like me? What do you think will happen in the blog world in the future? Do you think blogs can expand into more?

AS: I don’t think I would have gotten a book deal if there weren’t a blog. Having that platform is so important. It makes all the difference these days. But a blog is definitely a commitment, it comes w/ all those nonstop social media obligations, and a responsibility to your readers. It’s not as breezy as non-bloggers think! 

Alyssa featured in Elle Magazine

SCBD: If the world was ending tomorrow where would you have your last meal out and with who and/or what would you cook/bake for? Why?
AS: Wow. It would be so much more about the company than the cuisine. It would be me, my family and my boyfriend, and maybe it would be like big, fresh delicious sandwiches on a picnic blanket somewhere, along with my mom’s brownies, and Dorito’s for my Dad and sister, and some old-fashioned bottles of Coca-Cola. But the thought of that makes me sad, actually. So, another scenario could be me and Clive Owen, and a lot of chocolate cake. 

SCBD: Apron Anxiety also discusses dating, what’s the best dating advice you ever received? From who? Do you think what your boyfriend/girlfriend does can make a big difference in a relationship?
AS: I’ve always had a few older girlfriends who I think are just innately cool, unique people. And in awkward dating moments, I’ve sort of just pretended to be them. Yes, of course, you should always “be you,” but it’s only human to get scared and nervous around boys/girls you like. It 100% helps to channel women you look up to. My friend Pippa Lord from SousStyle.com asks herself, “What would Madonna do?” I love that! And I know there’s a “What Would Gwyneth Do?” blog. Those little psychological tricks work!

SCBD: In part of the book you go on tons of dates with a man who loves dive bars and restaurants off the beaten track in NYC. What’s the weirdest thing you ate? What’s your favorite? 

AS: I’m not into weird foods. That in itself makes me a shitty food writer but I don’t care! I’m never going to choose goat brains over grilled cheese. But the best off-the-grid discovery was this Thai place called Sripraphai in Queens. Freaking insanely delicious. I dream about it.

SCBD: Is there a movie in the works? 

AS: I have agents in LA working on things, so we’ll see!!!

SCBD: I would recommend Apron Anxiety to any of my friends whether they cook or not. Food and fellowship with loved ones is a heavy theme in the book. In one sentence why should someone read Apron Anxiety? 
AS: Thank you so much. I’ve been getting the most amazing feedback. But every now and then someone will say, “Your book was really cute!” or “You’re book was like candy!” – and while I’m thankful for the kind words, I also think to myself…okay, they didn’t totally get it. Because it’s not all about sex and cupcakes or whatever. There’s a tenderness to those pages…a quiet depth. The best readers are like you…people who enjoy the lightness and sweetness of it all, but are also deeply sensitive to the struggle.

 Thank you again, for letting me interview you tonight! Reading Apron Anxiety has inspired me in so many ways as a budding food writer and has been a huge encouragement to me to not give up trying recipes in the kitchen. Apron Anxiety has made my top ten favorite books to read. Congratulations on the success of the book, you deserve it!

To find out more information on the book, go to Alyssa Shelasky’s blog: http://apronanxiety.com/
 Happy Eating & Happy Reading, ’til next time!

#SmallChickBigDeals deal alert: Eat Drink New Jersey

Love to go out to eat like I do? Live in North Jersey, well Jersey in general?

Then the Eat Drink New Jersey website & VIP card program is perfect for you!

Here’s the 4-1-1:

Eat Drink New Jersey is a statewide website that has deals for people throughout the state of NJ. It originally started with Eat Drink Hoboken (where it was founded) then after three years and more inquiries they added Montclair, Jersey City, and Morristown. Within the past year the site has drawn so much buzz because of the deals and information it provides. I personally went to Eat Drink Morristown constantly while I was in college to find Happy Hour deals and more.

Now the big deal they have is their VIP card. It’s only $20 but worth every dollar, because you get so much savings! Plus, they are currently offering a buy one, get one free deal at the moment! Here’s why the VIP card is so great, when you bring it to any of the 50+ restaurants listed here, you get 10% off everyday and some restaurants who choose to have an extra 20-50% off on certain days. For example, you get an extra 20% off at Liberty Bar in Hoboken on Mondays! I used my card with my dad at George and Martha’s in Morristown once and it was great to have. I know I’ll definitely be using it more when I head to Hoboken, too! I highly recommend you get a VIP card and start saving!

The website is also user-friendly and easy to navigate. They have a tab for daily specials at the restaurants and of course exclusive deals for Eat Drink NJ members! They also have an events page of events at the different bars & restaurants! Last, the website features a blog, ranging from interviews with chefs, new meals to try, and more! They are very informative and highly entertaining. Here’s today’s blog: Five Jersey burgers you’ve gotta try this summer

Last, since this only benefits my North Jersey followers at the moment…I have good news– they plan on expanding to Atlantic City as well as the Jersey Shore and possibly the US! Of course, like all great things this will take time! But til then I will be using my card around North Jersey and there is plenty of time & restaurants to do that!

One last bit of good news– they are partnering up with Stear Clear which is a Designated Driver service. Bars with deals & a designated driver service? I don’t know what can be better?!

I can’t wait to head to The Office or Blue Moon again soon and get my 10% off!

Let me know if you agree me and if you’ve checked out Eat Drink New Jersey! You can follow them on Twitter @EatDrinkNJ and find them on Facebook too!

Until my next post….

Happy Eating!!! :)

Down the shore? Take a trip to Ob-Co’s Donut Shop!

While I love living up in North Jersey and passing the ever so tempting Cups on my way home from work, the Jersey shore will always be home to me. I was randomly looking at fellow FDU alums Instagram pic of a donut one weekend and it looked delicious and the caption said it was homemade which intrigued me even more. I immediately looked up the place, Ob-Co’s donuts and realized it was not far at all from my boyfriend’s house. I also realized I’ve gone past it a few times and it just made me want to go there even more. Plus, there are not many homemade donut shops so the fact that there was one so close to me, I couldn’t resist.

Homemade chocolate frosted donut from Ob-Co’s

Ob-Co’s Donut Shop (547 Fischer Boulevard, Toms River, NJ 08753)

Customer Service: 5- When you go there you order from a pick up window, but the girls that work there are super friendly and answer your questions no problem.

Atmosphere: 3.5- The atmosphere is a little lacking but it’s a homemade donut shop and is definitely more of a pick up and go kind of joint. They have some benches and a few chairs outside next to the pick up window. Don’t get me wrong, it works well with it but I wouldn’t recommend sitting there in scorching sun when you can take them on the go when headed to seaside.

Donut Quality: 5- These donuts are great, well that’s an understatement. It definitely gives your taste buds a ride. This past weekend I they had a cannoli filled donut and it was like heaven, because who doesn’t love a cannoli & donut in one? I know I sure don’t. Jason (my boyfriend) loved his cream donut and the bites of the cannoli donut (we split that). And of course I had to get the chocolate frosted, it’s my regular now. You can taste each bite of dough and how fresh they are. I could go on forever.

Price: $ — So not only are these donuts: homemade, delicious, and fresh…they also won’t break your budget. I got three donuts (one was the cannoli which was a special donut too) and an iced tea for about 5 bucks and change. Donuts start at .95 cents each and they are worth every cent. A half dozen is only $5.50 and a dozen is $7.50!!!

Final Score:13.5 /15– Although it’s atmosphere can be a little lacking, Ob-co’s donuts are some of the best donuts you can get down the Jersey shore. Especially if you ever plan on taking a trip near Seaside or want to take a drive while you’re in Point Pleasant. It’s so worth it, Jason and I want to go every weekend I’m home now. Just make sure you have at least ten bucks in cash (they don’t take any credit/debit cards) and are up early– they are open 7 days a week from 6 am-sell out which usually is by noon, on a slow day.

So if your headed to the beach, check out Ob-Co’s for a donut or two, you may become a regular!

Check out the menu for yourself and let me know what you think! These are definitely some of the best donuts in Ocean County and down the shore!

Be back soon with the 411 on another deal for all my Jersey readers! :)

Til then, Happy Eating! :)

PS: Feel free to let me know if you agree by leaving a comment or tweet me @smchickbigdeals! :)

It’s pretty hot out…guess I’ll cool off with CUPS!

Frozen Yogurt better known as “Froyo” is the latest craze at the moment. I’ve never seen so many froyo shops open at once. I remember as a kid getting TCBY used to be a treat until it went out of business. The yogurt fad died for a few years. That is until about two years ago the self-serve frozen yogurts shops began opening like Red Mango, Cups, and many more. They definitely don’t plan on going away anytime soon. It’s like every where I turn there is another one.

I thought it would be hard to judge which froyo is better than the next but it actually hasn’t been. I’m actually starting to prefer creamy froyo over the tart froyo. But I’ll back track a bit, before I graduated a Cups opened in Morristown near my school. I tried it once and thought it was alright but the next time I went it grew on me and I’m hooked.

Life as a post grad is going well, I love it. Of course, now I pass a Cups everyday on the way to and from work, it’s so tempting so I figured I’d have make my first post grad review post telling you all about it, #smallchickbigdeals style!

Cups Frozen Yogurt (various locations in NJ and NY)

Customer Service- 4.7: Everyone is friendly and willing to help out an give you samples which is alway needed in a frozen yogurt shop. The staff is young but always try there best to help you out.

Atmosphere: 4.7- If you are not a fan of loud music I will be straight up with you– it’s not the place for you. They play loud techno music because they are trying to get the younger crowd to come in as well. If you don’t mind the loud music it’s worth it. Also the decor is fun and comfy.

Froyo Quality: 5- As I mentioned above, their frozen yogurt has a creamy consistency to it. It’s almost like eating ice cream but it’s delicious. They also have a wide variety of flavors. I personally love the red velvet. You also have the option of having a combined flavor, ie: red velvet cake which taste great as well! They also have sorbet available in case you don’t want froyo.

Price: $ – Depending on how much you fill your cup really determines how expensive it is but in all my Cups experiences it’s always been less than 10 bucks which is great. It’s definitely worth the money and a great way to indulge yourself in a healthy way!

Final Score: 14.4/15- I highly recommend it if you love frozen yogurt. The variety of both froyo, sorbet and toppings is awesome. The atmosphere is fun and young and also comfy. You won’t put a hole in your wallet either! I have a feeling I’ll end up going there this weekend again!

Go check it out for yourself and let me know if you agree!

The masterpiece my man & I shared at Cups a few weeks ago!

On that note, here’s to happy & healthy eating! :)

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